It’s a series of policy decisions, philosophical ones, yes, sure – so many.
But before we get to any place of wisdom or knowing life much, we navigate swamps and complex currents of insurance markets.
Always, always, sellers of coverage. For every risk you have – real or imagined.
These day I live without life insurance policies in my drawer.
I don’t lose a wink over it.
My assets are what I have not already given away or discarded – just what I need.
My investments are now focused, actions and doing – I’m not storing up anything or waiting for the future to arrive, because I’m here.
Simple and clear – vastly different from when in my thirties I wrote out projections, graphs and spreadsheets of where my personal and corporate excess would come from, and where it would go. Things didn’t work out as planned.
I don’t lose sleep over that either.
I write, eat and sleep, and work every day.
My body of work has much yet to do.
Though my body creaks and squeaks a little, and I limp a little sometimes and I can’t run and jump and play as much as I used to. For that, I need more time at the gym and less time at the dining room table. I’m working on that every day.
Daring-do when we are young, is predicated upon low risk, large reward potential and that long long-term view where course corrections, recoveries and making-back losses was possible. That thinking got me into my share of daring-du-du.
But we get by, don’t we?
We get through, get on with life, don’t we?
News channels, magazines and papers regularly intrigue us – stories of dogged persistence, grande-deeds, breakthroughs or ‘bodies of work’ accolades when people of a certain age are still living extraordinarily . . . long-after they ought to have been long-gone.
Looking back – so many times, terms like planning, long-term, security, investing for retirement – were in my regular vocabulary, but looking back I see a hundred decisions or more would be vastly different if I could go back and make them over again.
Not all error-corrections, but different choices. I hesitate to say better choices because my life would have taken different paths leading some other way. I’m certain of that part just as I am certain in my comfort of living with my decisions.
But, what did I know?
When I was young there was no shortage of salesmen offering low premiums and high payout limits on life insurance policies. No shortage of sellers of retirement savings plans (oh yes, it’s that time of year again!). Seemed like good ideas at the time. For a number of years I held the perception it was all about protection for my family’s financial future in the event of my demise rather than the enrichment of an industry or the salesman.
I paid and paid. I paid increasing premiums for higher policy limits over the years as my perceived need grew higher, and the premium costs remained low. As kids grew up, marriages and divorces came and went, business ups and downs came and went – my need for protection diminished (or at least my perception of need) just as my profitability to that insurance industry diminished. All along, they were correctly betting I wouldn’t die.
As much as I also felt it statistically unlikely that I would, I bought that protection anyway.
What did I know, and when did I know it?
In young days with obligations to keep, a future to plan for and risks to consider – it seemed like a good idea at the time. Business operations usually produce a cadre of lawyers, accountants and bankers saying ‘you need key-man insurance’ based on the premise that in the event of an untimely death, the business would need help to survive.
What did they know?
They propagated planning perspectives predicated upon the concept of leaving early but leaving much behind which morphs over time to leaving enough to last you until you are ready to go. A long time ago, I bought into that logic. Frankly, I’ve had better planning luck with lottery tickets.
Life isn’t a straight road we can see down – it’s curves are not always gentle and we can be ditched in a steep turn or drop to oblivion when a bridge is out. In the middle of life things start to breakdown, fall apart, and alter our risk-reward visions.
Risking seems much less scary these days. Actuaries might not agree. Doctors would differ. Planners would chant their mantra that those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
What do you have planned today? This year? For the rest of your life?
Chances are it won’t turn out like you’ve planned it at all. Some people don’t get the same degree of free choice because disease or catastrophe hits them. But, as most actuaries will work out for you with their pencils, if you’ve lasted this long (I’m 62) – you aren’t likely to die soon. I’ll continue my steps of diet modification, better sleep habits and exercise, not from fear of dying but from desire for living.
This term always amuses me: aging in place
It is generally accepted as the concept having services brought to you rather than having to move to stair-less care facility – though bungalow living has appeal.
The term: running in place also amuses me.
It is, like being on a treadmill – running a lot without going anywhere.
And, what insurance do I need?
I insure my place, my things, my car, my business and professional risks.
But, do I insure my life?
Yes, but not with a wad of paper called a policy of insurance – because when it comes to assessing life’s risks and rewards, I think I’ve got that covered – and, as Sondheim’s song goes, I’m still here.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -6C / 22F, calm, light clouds, Gusta wanted to play with a black lab pup, slippery route through alleys turned to mush
The search is difficult, relationships are difficult. life and love is beautiful, not easy!, AG, Playa del Carmen, Mex.
I seem to remember a saying that goes something like this, "anything worth having is worth working hard for." That seems to apply to all things in life, including relationships. Are they easy? No. Just look at the basic differences between men and women; men are visual and women are emotional. That in and of itself gets a lot of relationships into trouble. In order for a relationship to work one must not take the world's view of "if it's broke, replace it." Paradigm shift necessary to "if it's broke, fix it". Also, "if it isn't broke, don't *#$) with it, aka "fix it". Michael and I have been together for a year and a half now and he has won me over to "nothing in life is so serious that you can't laugh at it". His attitude has calmed the storm more than once in this past year and a half. I do believe there is someone out there for everyone and it is just a matter of opening the right door or turning over the right rock. Keep believing! GW, Brady, Tx.
Life Should be Simpler! Too bad you don’t live in Montana. I could use a little of you right now! I could change a few him/her he/she man/woman references here and could say the same thing. Why is it so hard to find “the one”? I just spent 4 days with someone I thought might be “the one”. He lost his wife in an automobile accident just 6 months ago....I should have known better....he is in no way ready for a “relationship”. There’s no room in his heart for another. He knows that, but he just had to try. I can’t say I fell in love, but I did fall in like....a lot of “LIKE” So, his friend I shall be....until, I can’t be “just” his friend any longer. By the way, my neighbor and I had planned to head up to Calgary this past summer and just didn’t make it. We took horseback riding lessons instead. Maybe this next year, after the snow melts, VH, Helmville, MT
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